1st January, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – from the union of two separate British Colonies in West Africa – a new nation called Nigeria, named – if the internet is to be believed – by Flora Louise Shaw, originally of 2 Dundas Terrace in Woolwich, England, and later the Colonial Editor of the Times. She first coined the term “Nigeria” in 1897, and five years later she married Sir Frederick Lugard, a colonial administrator who, by a strange quirk of fate, became the Governor-General of Nigeria in 1914.


~ Also born today (or possibly tomorrow?), in Moscow, in the Russian Empire – Noor Inayat Khan, GC, also known as Nora Baker and “Madeleine”, poet and children’s author who became a British SOE operative (spy) and worked as a radio operative with the French resistance. She was arrested in October 1943 and died in the Dachau concentration camp in 1944, aged 30.


Science, technology and travel: In Florida, the St Petersburg to Tampa airboat line becomes the first ever scheduled passenger airline flight, a 23 mile journey, taking 23 minutes. Happy Centenary, public air transport!


Society and culture: In Exeter, in South West England, the Western Times reports on an early legal casualty of the new year celebrations:

A cab-driver named Richard Gill … opened the New Year very badly, for at 2.40 yesterday morning he was found by P.S. Bradford to be drunk while in charge of a cab outside the Victoria Hall where a dance was being held. He was brought up at the Police Court yesterday before Mr. Tom Linscott, and was fined 5s. P.S. Bradford and P.C, Weeks giving evidence. Defendant, who, was said, was very troublesome, maintained that he was quite fit to drive, although he had been treated by several “fares” during the evening. [Western Times – 2 January 1914].


Health and safety: Meanwhile the Kilmore Free Press in Victoria, Australia, reports on the antiseptic cleaning  properties of petrol for use in accidents (“petrol good for wounds”), taking care to point out however that “its one great disadvantage is that it is so inflammable, and unless operations or application can be made away from a fire its use is contra-indicated”.